• Kyodo


A 21-year-old male part-time worker from Kakogawa, Hyogo Prefecture, who allegedly killed a 20-year-old woman whose body was found near Kakogawa River in December, was sent to the prosecutor’s office Friday.

Kazuaki Isono, who was arrested Thursday, has admitted to beating Mashiro Oyama, from Suita, Osaka, to death with a hammer, which he said he later threw into the river, according to investigators.

The Hyogo Prefectural Police are searching for the hammer, along with Oyama’s coat and bag, which Isono said he also disposed of.

Investigators are trying to determine a motive. They said they believe the two had money troubles.

According to the investigators, Oyama, also a part-time worker, purportedly told a friend she lent money to a man she was acquainted with, but that she couldn’t get the money back. Sometime during the summer, the friend introduced her to Isono, telling her he was good at making people pay back debts. The three visited the man’s workplace together and Isono managed to collect some of the money, investigators said.

“(Isono) was a diligent worker. I cannot believe he has been arrested,” said the 48-year-old president of the food retail firm where Isono worked.

The 21-year-old started working for the company in June 2011 when he was a high school student, according to the president.

Right after the incident came to light last year, Isono told him that police visited his house and asked for his work records.

On Wednesday, police called Isono at the company to tell him that they wanted to bring him to the police station. According to the president, Isono told him that he knew Oyama but denied being involved in her death.

Starting in early December, just days before her murder, Oyama is believed to have withdrawn a total of about ¥1 million from her account over several visits to ATMs. The last time was Dec. 6, the day she was believed to have gone to Kakogawa to meet Isono and give him the ¥1 million.

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